I am aware there are several other threads/discussions around this topic however I feel most are out of date or specific to image/card based horizontal scrolling.

My question is has it become anymore acceptable to use horizontal scrolling (not for imagery) for complex data presentation such matrix tables on mobile. Understandably there's a big "it depends" on the context, however I've noticed some sites utilising it (notably Google forms and Fantasy Football Premier League) and wondered if it has become a a more recognised mobile pattern? See below for two examples. Marked in blue is the scrollable area. Premier league is a native Android app while google forms is a web app. (Note: Google forms has made some effort to provide a visual signifier to show you can scroll horizontally, however i don't think this is really obvious.)

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  • Have you tried to scroll sideways while walking or on a bus? Ever experience the feeling of trying to scroll sideways and your screen scrolls vertically instead? Frustrating experience. Horizontal scrolling solves a designer and development issue not a user problem. – John Jan 15 '18 at 3:44

Depends on your audience. A cohort of Millennials would probably recognize the pattern right away.

But our audience of middle-aged men rarely discovered horizontally scrolling elements, so we're moving back to simple vertical lists.

We had to scrap this filter pattern because so few of our users understood it --

horizontal filter scroll

Instead we're back to a simple vertical list --

vertical filter scroll

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  • Thanks for your comment Rob. In another part of the app we're using a horizontal scroll for a tab menu which our users understand but this a little different. In the above google forms example they use visual signifiers to highlight there is content off screen. I think having clever UI helps but it will definitely be something we need to test. – Neil O'Donoghue Feb 8 '17 at 9:57

This kind of scrolling is only used if there isn't enough width for a specific element to fit and the author of the app really wants everything to be in one line. However, horizontal scrolling is generally not a preferred method and is not used if there isn't a visible reason due to it decreasing the user-friendliness of an app.

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  • I don't think you can generalise and say it decreases the "user friendliness" of an app without knowing the context. If implemented correctly and is something the intended user can understand, use and finds useful then it's possible it can be very "user friendly". For my use case, there's isn't enough width and we want everything on one line to compare data/content without the need for expanding/collapsing accordions or scrolling, like in the two above examples. – Neil O'Donoghue Feb 8 '17 at 10:03

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